I'm considering taking a serious road trip in the future and I was wondering, how do you handle incoming bills while you're away? Obviously I can make car payments, insurance, etc. in advance but what about the others?
Also, is it a necessity to have a credit card while travelling? I currently have a debit card - should I get a credit card too?
Mail Forwarding Services
There are plenty of options for receiving bills and other forms of mail on the road. The least expensive is having a friend collect your mail and send it General Delivery to wherever you are going to be for a while. You can also set up mail forwarding arrangments with commercial services like Postnet or UPS Stores.
Credit cards are very handy for services like car rentals, air flights etc. Debit cards work in most places, but if are reserving assets of value-- companies are going to want more security.
Easiest way would be to pay everything online. Most major companies and banks alreay have something set up like that. I have a friend doing that from halfway around the world.
I'm not sure I would want to put my account numbers and passwords onto a computer that wasn't mine. If you have a lap-top computer, then I would pay online. Many place will send you an e-bill or you can call them to find out the amount.
If you don't have a lap-top computer to take, then take a copy of all the bills you have with you, make sure you have the account numbers and a phone number. You can call most places to get what the current bill is and then write them a check.
You can usually set it all up before you leave home -- I can schedule my payments months in advance (on-line). You'd have to know about what each payment should be, or overpay by a few dollars if you're not sure.
I use Yahoo's bill pay service and it has always worked well for me. There's a double level of security (not just one password). I've not yet had a problem, been using it for about two years.
I use Checkfree.com for some bills, set up for automatic payment, and use it in conjunction with my bank's online services to verify the amounts in the transactions - just another option you might want to consider.
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